Wandering Wednesday

The daily Z06 update: returning the ECU to stock tune did not solve the “Engine Power Is Reduced” problem (of course). The service department at the Chevy dealer finally decided to avail themselves of corporate resources. They learned that one or more of four particular sensors is/are the cause of that error message, which cannot simply be ignored because that message means the car can only operate in “limp home” mode. Apparently and par for the course, the one sensor that seems to be the cause is the one most difficult to access and the one that requires the most labor to change. Maybe the car will be ready tomorrow. The repair bill is now in four figures.


What do you think of the looks of this car?



Expanding my search horizon for the “down the road” purchase of a convertible unearthed a couple of Fiat 124 Spiders, the car shown above. They are/were, of course, manufactured in Japan alongside the Mazda MX-5, but do not share the same engine.

I have always thought they have a great look although many automobile journalists do not share that view. They have a little more power than third-generation MX-5s, but are not power monsters, either. (Good fourth-generation MX-5s cost more than I want to spend.)

Of course, we no longer have a grocery car/taxi. Maybe I need to look at one of these, instead:


See the source image


This is a 2016 Maserati Ghibli S. It is difficult to find a good low-mileage one (doesn’t have to be a 2016 model) for under $35,000 right now and that is definitely more than I want to spend. I’d rather buy a convertible for $15,000-$18,000.

I am so bored that my brain creates things about which I can obsess. It is OCD, after all. I am seriously considering purchasing the most recent edition of the computer football game I could not bring myself to buy last year. At least that will give me something to do most days.

How bad is my OCD/boredom? I have started compiling a list of all US network primetime TV shows that aired in the 1940s. Don’t ask me why I am doing this because I really don’t know. I have always been fascinated by the beginning stage of a process much more than by its mature stage. Here is a picture of what I have done so far. Please note the message under the spreadsheet title.



You can see I have not gotten very far, at all. This could end up like my project to document all engines used in US automobiles since 1930. The effort ended with American Motors.

Once again, you can understand why Disaffected Musings is so important to me and why declining readership is so disappointing. Just as C/2 gave me the idea for Cars A To Z, a new reader might suggest a topic I had never considered.

I think that’s enough of a look into my brain (or what’s left of it) for today. As always, I welcome thoughtful comments. Thanks.









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10 thoughts on “Wandering Wednesday

  1. So wait, the tuning you had done is now for naught AND the problem hasn’t been fixed? WTF? The code reader didn’t catch this? What about the GD Google machine. Sorry to hear my friend.


  2. Ok and thanks for the A to Z car challenge. My next suggestion is number cars. Lots of subject matter suggestions, Z28, GT 350 Electra 225, Z06. Thanks as always I enjoy Your blog every day.


  3. Doubt sensors will be a solution (though have been wrong before). Engine Power Reduced usually only displays on running vehicles. ECU got locked into a sub-routine on its fatal last shut-down (whether that was due to Cordes tuning or not is suspect) for which it cannot escape. They have a GM Technician Hotline they can call for factory-based assistance but that will lead to tracing out voltages and lots of stuff that eats time. Be careful how they charge you for this repair as you can claim if they did something that did not fix it, why are you being charged for it type of thing. Remember, I cut my teefers on mechanics with GM, my 2 cents worth


    1. Thanks, Bob. I know you know what you’re talking about, but right now I don’t really have much choice except to listen what the dealer is telling me. The idea that the sensor is the problem came from GM Tech and not the dealer.

      If the ECU is stuck in a “fatal” state, how can it be unstuck, anyway? Sounds like a new ECU would be necessary.


      1. Nope, you are correct that a “stuck” ECU is basically a paperweight and replacement would be the ultimate response. Sadly, they will charge you as they will claim “they have to put it back to OEM stock before going further” and was not a bad attempt just didn’t solve the problem. Also sadly, you are at the dealership’s mercy and many dealerships are far less than communicative……seems they all follow the don’t call don’t advise until THEY feel necessary on their end role….I disagree with that as bad for business but they all have more work than they can handle so what if they piss off one or two clients. Not right and not how business should be done but seems all dealers and independents operate this way these days.


      2. Thanks again, Bob. I have also suggested to the dealer that they replace the alternator since if a surge killed the original ECU, then the alternator is the most likely culprit. The service advisor is not rude or unfriendly, it’s just that–as you say–he only calls when he thinks it’s absolutely necessary. Anyway, they are going to check all four sensors–they had not done that previously, unlike my perception–and if they all check out I guess they will replace the ECU.


  4. Trying to solve a problem when you do not know what you are doing leads you to galloping down many wrong trails. I would start finding my own experts, as you have already done with consulting Bob. I cannot offer assistance as I am a mechanical engineer and when I run into a problem such as yours I go consult my electrical and computer experts. I know my limitations. I know you do NOT prefer to use the Alphabet monster for searches; but it can give you other technical sources provided you put in the right search terms. Finding the right search terms is a skill acquired from endless use. I will ask my computer/auto expert son-in-law for his suggestions.

    Since when did the Fiat monster/giant start building cars in Japan? A small car with a power monster engine is always fun provided you can provide enough traction. I vote for the Fiat, provided your “old” body can enter and exit without too much pain.


    1. Thanks, Philip. I availed myself of the Internet when the issue first arose, but was unable to learn anything other than the likely cause was a failed ECU or sensor. Not having been in Arizona very long, I simply don’t know where to take the car other than to a Chevrolet dealer. I have already changed the dealer I use and really don’t want to do it again, but will if I have no other choice.


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